Tag Archives: Journalism

Viva Chile

14 Oct

(Jose Manuel de la Maza/Chilean Presidential Press Office/AP)

A moment in history we should never forget, Chile Cheers After World’s Longest Mine Rescue Ends: Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) — Chile completed the rescue of 33 miners trapped half a mile below the Atacama Desert for more than two months, sparking celebrations at the mine site and on city streets throughout the South American country. Cont…

I’d also like to note what a great job Oakley and The North Face did in donating items to help protect the miners. The North Face Chile was able to send the miners special shirts to deal with the humidity. And most notably, Oakley donated 35 pairs of its Radar sunglasses to the Chile mine rescue effort. “The men will wear the glasses as they come up to the surface, to fight against any damage to their retinas which have not been exposed to sunlight in more than two months, ” via Styleite. It’s estimated Oakley got $41 million in TV ad time. Brilliant PR move by the Oakley team and great job to everyone who helped with the rescue effort.

Video: http://www.boston.com/news/world/latinamerica/articles/2010/10/13/first_pair_of_33_men_rescued_from_chilean_mine/

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Journalists! Say something

10 Dec

To those journalist who are prompt about responding to pitches, thank you! For those of you who aren’t, here is a plead to at least say yes, no or maybe so. I take time to craft and personalize pitches to send to journalists I know cover specific topics, it’s always nice to see a response come through.

Today, I followed up with a reporter on a pitch I had sent her Monday, she quickly replied with, “I’ll respond to you when I have a chance. Thanks for your patience!” Less than three hours later, she responded saying, “Sorry about the rushed response from earlier this morning. It’s very hectic right now. Yes, please do send some additional information on client XXX. I am interested in publishing a column or working on a Q&A session together.” Patience is a virtue and manners are appreciated.

I know we’re all busy, but it takes a half a second to respond to an e-mail. And less than two minutes if you are interested. I understand e-mails get lost every now and then, but do yourself a favor and keep your inbox clean! We (PR people) want to be respectful of your time and busy schedules, but we have a job to do too.

So whether it is yes, no, maybe so or gimme’ more- something is better than nothing! And, if my pitch was awful, please tell me that too; constructive criticism and practice are the only ways to improve.

The Power (and Potential) of a Pitch

12 Nov

Today, I had the privilege of attending the Hoosier PRSA Meet the Media luncheon. Our guests of honor included Indianapolis Star editors Jenny Green, Steve Berta and reporter Cathy Kightlinger. As a media relations professional, it is imperative to jump at the chance to meet members of the media, especially local contacts in your area. Our Q&A session provided me with valuable insight on how the Indianapolis Star, like many newspapers, views and works with public relations professionals. Here are just a few of the takeaways:

  • Journalists are engaging in Twitter and other social media sites to monitor trends. Be sure you are providing new and pertinent material, not just contributing noise to what is already out there.
  • Be patient. When you send a pitch, don’t follow-up 5 minutes later with a phone call. Give them a day or two.
  • Journalists are not there to publicize your clients, they capture moments and report on news. Make sure what you are offering is newsworthy and pay attention to the 7 C’s (completeness, conciseness, consideration, concreteness, clarity, courtesy, and correctness)
  • Give as many details as possible, it makes their job much easier!
  • If you are offering up an exclusive, provide information in enough time and stay true to your word. Offer up interviews and keep them updated!

After the Q&A, I had the chance to ask Cathy what makes the perfect pitch. Her response, “provide all the details in an e-mail with names spelled correctly. My inbox gets blasted w/ e-mails daily so follow-up phone calls the next day are encouraged.” She also stresses the importance of doing your research and personalizing your pitch based on what they write or have previously written.  It might sound easy, but it takes practice and diligence.

In PR, especially media relations, it is important to pitch (and yes, I’m aware some say this word is dead) journalists who will benefit from your information. How are you tailoring your pitch to meet the needs of the journalist, the publication, and it’s readers? Being respectful of journalist’s time and interests is fundamental for building mutually beneficial relationships. Position yourself as a reliable, easy to work with and thoughtful communicator. You’d be pleasantly surprised at the results.

**Check out the HoosierPRSA blog for more info. Also, huge thanks to Ed Kanis, journalism teacher at Butler University, for teaching me the fundamentals of PR Techniques.

Agency Life

20 Jul

Oh the agency life…

I haven’t been in the PR field for long, but my work at an agency has given me a concrete understanding of what to expect in my PR endeavors. Agency life is exceptionally eventful; never a dull moment here in the office. However, I have come to learn there are particular skills you must possess/acquire in order to succeed at an agency. Obviously, I don’t know many since I just graduated, but here are a few I have discovered over the past 10 months.

In order to help young PR professionals like myself, please share your advice/suggestions for what it takes to thrive in an agency setting.

Multi-task: You may be working on 4-5 accounts at a time; each one requiring just as much attention as the others. Being able to effectively allocate enough time to each account is essential to meeting clients’ needs and exceeding expectations. The ability to jump from working on one client to another certainly comes in handy when opportunities arise! But always pick up right where you left off- this isn’t the time for unfinished business.

Delegate: Know exactly what it is you CAN do and exactly what it is others can do for you. Utilize your interns and work with other account executives to bounce off ideas, proof-read, calculate ROI, and find new opportunities. Agency life is a team sport- it takes a posse!

Think on your feet: The flair to provide quick and meticulous responses at the drop of a hat comes from a true understanding of your client’s business. Do your research, stay up with current trends and know what you are talking about. Most people don’t have time for bullshit, so cut to the chase and get to point- fast!

Organization (especially when pitching): Plain and simple, keep the inbox clean! The more organized you are, the fewer mistakes you make. Create e-mail folders for each of your clients that specifies what actions need to be taken (i.e. follow up, Google alerts, new pitches, internal information, etc.). I personally still enjoy writing things down, so pick up the pen and paper and record things the old fashion way too! Same goes when using your planner, have an electronic and tangible copy of everything.

Work with a sense of Urgency: Deadlines don’t wait for you so don’t let an opportunity pass you by. PR is not an 8-5 job, make yourself available and respond quickly to opportunities. Wouldn’t you want a reporter to do the same?

Commitment: Give it your all! All relationships, no matter what, evolve from a committed and trusting foundation. An exceptional PR professional knows the importance of strong dedication to his/her company, clients and the industry. Don’t you want to be exceptional?

Thoughts, comments and suggestions are always welcome! Tweet this

The newspaper Armageddon: what it means to the media industry

10 Jun

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the Hoosier PRSA luncheon with guest speaker, Ruth Holladay, a journalist for 37 years and former Indianapolis Star columnist. The topic, “What the Heck Are Newspapers,” fit perfectly with the gloomy and dreary Wednesday afternoon. In media relations, the recent decline in newspapers is a bit startling. As we watch a “revolution” unfold before our eyes, we are hesitant and nervous as to what the future may hold, especially for newspapers. Holladay is a committed journalist with strong beliefs in the “noisy, tangible, yet heroic” newspaper. Not surprising, given the generation. My mom would never consider ending her subscription to the Indy Star, it’s a tradition.

Now, I don’t have a crystal ball or tarot cards but I can tell you… with the reality of newspapers becoming extinct, many media relations professionals are starting to freak, especially with hypotheses such as this one, “Last Newspaper to Publish April 2043.” Whoa is right?

Without the 15” by 22” black and white bundle of information, who would cover our stories? Who would interview our clients and tell their stories? The answer is the same as before, people!

While we live in a harsh reality, we also live in a society full of eccentric and extraordinary human minds. As a young PR professional (only my 4th week in the real world), I have not lost hope. While the Internet may be damaging the newspaper business, it certainly has opened many doors for us PR folks. The fascinating, yet mildly intimidating World Wide Web is a media relations challenge in itself. This revolution forces more concise & accurate research to ensure we are pitching the right people. And not just that, but that we are firm believers in what we pitch. In a word of mouth society, we can’t afford to tick off any journalists or bloggers! Research is the backbone to any successful PR coverage. Sure, everyone gets lucky now and then, but more often than not, luck isn’t enough.

welcome to the world wide web signIt is no surprise the amount of engagement that coincides with the Internet. Instead of a few people influencing the masses, we PR professionals engage new influencers. It truly is spectacular. Deviating from the theory of structural imperialism, the flow of information is no longer just from the center, transnational news agencies. The Internet has given new meaning to the free flow of information. The millions of blogs are essentially peripheries, creating and sharing their own information and beliefs, and connecting with one another. Blogs and news sites continue to throw information, opinions and ideas at us left and right. While it’s exhilarating, it’s a challenge to keep up. As long as people are talking, journalism and media relations are not going anywhere, just simply headed a different direction. Change is inevitable.

So what is the future of newspapers? Will they soon shrink to regional or even national papers? Will they land on our doorstep only twice a week? What does it mean for media relations? Time shall tell. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments!

And, if you want to learn more about Ruth, check out her blog: http://www.ruthholladay.com/